A recent report published by the Department of Interior demonstrates what conservation advocates have been arguing for years: Recreational use of public lands creates many more jobs and much more economic value than public lands ranching.
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Despite the staggering disparity in economic value of these competing land uses, the Bureau of Land Management continues to manage public lands to benefit public lands ranching above and beyond all other uses.
This mismanagement frequently results in degraded conditions resulting in diminished recreational opportunities, reduction of wildlife, water contamination and the general abuse of the landscape.
Nobody wants to pitch a tent in cow waste, have their trip cut short by E. Coli or Giardia or visit public lands that smell like a feedlot.
These 2009 photos show a deeply degraded spring area on the 100,000 acre Mountain Springs Allotment in Custer County, Idaho administered by the BLM. Unfortunately, damaged landscapes like these are common across the public lands of the American West.
Mountain Springs Allotment location. Photos © David Stilwill/WWP